Sunday, June 6, 2010


A few things to tell you.

Mary left our village on Tuesday June 1st.  She left Indonesia on Thursday June 3rd.  When leaving our village you have to make several stops along the way.  Usually it goes a bus from Nurobo (village) to Kupang (capital city of the Indonesian province), then a domestic flight from Kupang to Jakarta and then Jakarta to any international city.  It can take as little as 3 days to get home or as many as you choose it to take.

So I'm alone and I feel the loneliness of it.  I am currently in Timor L'este (country on the East side of Timor Island, separate from Indonesia).  I had to leave Indonesia to pick up passport pages because my passport was already full and the American Embassy in TL is closer to me than any other in Indonesia.  I was supposed to leave Indonesia on Thursday June 3rd but got rejected at the border by TL because of some new policy for foreigners traveling by land trying to enter TL.  I was not happy but as bad as it feels to be humiliated and rejected at the border its still could have been worse and I am grateful to all the people who helped me on my way back to my village.

So I was forced to try again on Friday.  Needless to say I didn't want to but I was later informed by Sr. Aurora, whom I called from the border telling her of my rejection, that she called someone and I got special permission to enter again.  Prior to trying to reenter TL I went to my local immigration office in Indonesia to speak with the officer handling my Indonesian visa requests.  He said he got a call from the border from the Indonesian officers stating that a pretty American girl got rejected by TL.  I laughed out loud when he said this because I thought it was funny I was described this way.  Prior to this, the same officer commented on my weight loss and said I looked "pas" meaning perfect (not true by the way, I'm still overweight).  I think its funny how in Indonesian culture calling someone, fat, thin, or pretty is just stated as a matter of fact.  If you were to call someone fat in American it means you are trying to be mean, thin, you are either envious or trying to be mean, or pretty you're trying to hit on that person.  Its not the same in Indonesia, however.  They are pretty direct here at least when it comes to things like looks. Anyway I digress.

I talked to the officer at the immigration office and later headed to the border to try again.  The Indonesian officers told me that the Timor L'este officers said I would be allowed to enter that day.  I was allowed to enter and I was also given a lecture on how I now need to apply for a visa beforehand.  I was not in a mood for a lecture so I cut the officer off by saying "Sudah tahu" meaning "I already know."

So I am now staying with the Sisters in Dili, Timor L'este.  I plan to be traveling to another city in this country to visit the American volunteer here.  The Italians are in Bali and oh how I envy them.  I haven't had much to do.  I came on a weekend so the American Embassy was closed.  I went to the Embassy today (Monday), however, and was taken care of very quickly.  I think its funny how the officers at the Embassy become very relieved and much nicer when I attempt to speak Indonesian with them.  The officers are locals.  Actually all people here become much nicer when a person attempts to speak their language or a language known to them.  I think its true anywhere.  I remember when I was in Italy all these Italian people would be unpleasant and gruff with us foreigners whenever we spoke English but when we attempted Italian even if poorly attempted they instantly smiled and became kinder.

Anyway, yesterday I got a little break from my boredom here.  I joined a procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi.  There were hundreds of people and it was a long procession.  They separated the procession into types of people like students, aspirants, novices, sisters, brothers, priests and all kinds of other groups.  I joined the aspirants as they didn't have a special section for volunteers.  They prayed the rosary in the local language of Tetun (I think that's how you spell it).  I actually enjoyed myself and found myself meditating a bit which always good.  I almost passed out at the end of the procession when we reached the ceremony place because I was dehydrated.  I prayed that I wouldn't, though, and I didn't.

I am supposed to help out in Baucau these next couple of weeks.  I don't know what I'm supposed to do but we'll see.  I just want to be kept busy because having aloneness forced upon you is not the same as choosing to be alone.  Its not so bad, however, and I'm sure this is serving to help me in some way.  It would be nice to know how something is benefiting you as its going on but then maybe it wouldn't be as beneficial.  Anyway that's it for today.  As always I miss you all and to Mary I hope you're enjoying your time back home how I wish you were here to do stuff with me but oh well.